Nicole Reads A Lot

so many books, so little time

White Hot: A Hidden Legacy Novel by Ilona Andrews

Title:White Hot (Hidden Legacy #2)
Author:Ilona Andrews
PublisherHarperCollins Publishers
Publication Date:May 30, 2017
Publisher's DescriptionThe Hidden Legacy series by #1 New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrews continues as Nevada and Rogan navigate a world where magic is the norm…and their relationship burns hot

Nevada Baylor has a unique and secret skill—she knows when people are lying—and she's used that magic (along with plain, hard work) to keep her colorful and close-knit family's detective agency afloat. But her new case pits her against the shadowy forces that almost destroyed the city of Houston once before, bringing Nevada back into contact with Connor "Mad" Rogan.

Rogan is a billionaire Prime—the highest rank of magic user—and as unreadable as ever, despite Nevada’s “talent.” But there’s no hiding the sparks between them. Now that the stakes are even higher, both professionally and personally, and their foes are unimaginably powerful, Rogan and Nevada will find that nothing burns like ice…
My rating:****.5

Book cover of White Hot by Ilona AndrewsI enjoyed reading Burn for Me when it was released in 2014, so I was very excited to see that the next two books in the series were going to be published in short succession in 2017. I’ve read way too many books in the interim, so I knew that I was going to have to reread the first book in order to prepare for White Hot. I’m so glad that I did. First, I got to enjoy the world building all over again. The setting of this series is top-notch! Next, I was reminded of how intense these books are. While they can be read in a single sitting, especially if you are as obsessive as I am about good books, they are not at all light books. Although there is a fair amount of humor, as with most of Ilona Andrews’ books, there’s some seriously dark shit in these novels, is what I’m saying. Reading the first and second books in this series back to back allowed me to see the characters grow and evolve from where they were at the beginning of the first novel. I loved the authors’* attention to detail; seemingly minor statements turned out to mean a great deal. As a person who loves words and communication, I appreciate it when everything that is said has meaning.

Nevada has progressed so much over the course of these two books, and I felt like a proud mama, watching her navigate through situations that very few people expected her to survive, let alone succeed in. Likewise, I’ve enjoyed watching Rogan open up about his experiences and attempt to rejoin a world that he had mostly left behind. The Baylor family is remarkable, and learning more about them has felt like a treat.

If you haven’t read the first book in this series, why not??? You definitely can’t read the second without the table-setting that was done in the first, but also, Burn for Me is just a really good book. If you’re the type of person who hates to read incomplete series, start reading the first two books in mid-July, so that you’ll be all caught up by July 25, when Wildfire, the final book in the series, is released. I hope to review that one as well, but I’m already pretty positive that I’m going to love it.

This book was provided to me through Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review.

* – Ilona Andrews is the pseudonym of a husband and wife team, so I’m not misusing the apostrophe here, promise!

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A Blood Seduction by Pamela Palmer

Title:A Blood Seduction
Author:Pamela Palmer
Publication Date:May 29, 2012
Publisher's DescriptionVampires live only for lust and pleasure in the eternal twilight of Vamp City. But the city’s magic is dying. The only person who can restore it? A beautiful woman from the mortal who knows nothing of the power she wields.

Quinn Lennox is searching for a missing friend when she stumbles into a dark otherworld that only she can see—and finds herself at the mercy of Arturo Mazza, a dangerously handsome vampire whose wicked kiss will save her, enslave her, bewitch her, and betray her.

What Arturo can’t do is forget about her—any more than Quinn can control her own feelings for him. Neither one can let desire get in the way of their mission—his to save his people, hers to save herself.

But there is no escape from desire in a city built for seduction, where passion flows hot and blood-red. Welcome to Vamp City...
My rating:**

I chose to review this book because it seemed like something that I would really like. A lot of the action takes place in a world parallel to our own, and I’m always interested to see how authors handle a world that is at once familiar and new. In Ms. Palmer’s case, I would say, not well. I was horrified by so much that happened in this book. Vampires as a story element are certainly au courant, but the gender and power dynamics of this novel could easily have come from any less progressive bodice ripper of the 70s or 80s. “What the…” was a common refrain as I read this.

First of all, Quinn was ENSLAVED and end up feeling all gooey and warm toward her captor. Almost immediately! The phenomenon of Stockholm Syndrome was named after a course of events that unfolded over six days. Quinn was already making an ass of herself over Arturo on day one. Second, and maybe I’m just sensitive about this, I really hate how acts of mental and even physical cruelty toward women in this book are seen as negligible, because at least they’re not sexual violence (although there was plenty of that to go around, as well). Really???

I understand what an anti-hero is, but I think that Arturo’s really just a jerk. The source of his conflict was inane, and Kassius served as an embodiment of why Arturo’s supposed unshakeable loyalty was even dumber than it initially appeared to be. Then again, maybe Arturo is perfect for Quinn, because she’s an idiot. She’s supposed to be intelligent enough to be a scientist, but seems pretty slow on the uptake. She gives her trust too easily, to a person she should not, who (rather sportingly) warns her against doing so, then betrays her; to get an idea of the rest of the book, lather, rinse, and repeat. Even after he proves himself untrustworthy and admits to lying when it is expedient to do so, she still continues to take Arturo at his word! What does it take to get her to wake up and realize that the only person she can depend on is herself (answer: I don’t know, she does’t reach this conclusion by the somewhat hilarious end of this book). Furthermore, Quinn observes the speed and strength of vampires relative to that of humans, and still manages to completely underestimate them. What does it take to get through to this woman?

I didn’t feel at all invested in Quinn’s emotional connection to Arturo, which I was really glad for as I reached the end of this book. Maybe I’m just not in the target demographic for this book, because I didn’t get or enjoy it at all.

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